Facebook Says There Are Only 3.57 Degrees Of Separation

A study from Facebook has shown that 6 degrees of separation is too much, as there are just three and a half people between any one person and another on average.

The six degrees of separation theory was coined by Hungarian playwright Frigyes Karinthy in 1929, and shows how a chain of six individuals can link any two people on the planet. However, Facebook's study suggests this is too far, as it only takes 3.57 intermediaries.

“I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation. Between us and everybody else on this planet. The president of the United States. A gondolier in Venice. Fill in the names. . . . How every person is a new door, opening up into other worlds. Six degrees of separation between me and everyone else on this planet. But to find the right six people . . .” - John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation (1990)

Of course this only counts for the social network's membership, which stands at around one-quarter of the world's population (1.6 billion people). In 2008, Facebook claimed the number stood at 4.28, whereas in 2011 it reduced to 3.74. The team have even created a tool where you can check your own degrees of separation by visiting the research here.

Mine is at 3.35, whereas Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg stands at 3.17 and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has 2.92. This number varies between 2.9 and 4.2 degrees.